Referral "Thank you" payments

J Lowe made this Freedom of Information request to East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust,

I have been informed that this Trust has just announced it will pay a "Staff referral thank you" of £500 for each new ambulance paramedic or technician taken on.
This follows directly on from its payments of tens (if not
hundreds) of thousands of pounds to encourage technicians to either retire early or leave the service.

I would therefore request information on the following

1. How many technicians from this Trust took advantage of the financial incentives offered to either retire early and / or leave this service?
2. How much money has this cost the Trust to date?
3. Who came up with the idea to pay experienced staff to leave?
4. Will any of those given money to leave be eligible to be re-employed should they so wish?

Yours faithfully,

J Lowe

FOI, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Dear J Lowe

Thank you for your email dated the 19th April 2013 where you requested information regarding the East of England Ambulance Service.

Your request will be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and we will respond to you within twenty working days. Your request has been allocated the following reference: F14315 and I would be grateful if you could quote this reference in any future correspondence with the Trust.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

FoI Officer
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

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FOI, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Dear J Lowe

Further to your email dated 19th April 2013, please see the Trust's response below:

1. How many technicians from this Trust took advantage of the financial incentives offered to either retire early and / or leave this service?
6

2. How much money has this cost the Trust to date?
£94,884.20 (technicians only leaving the service)

3. Who came up with the idea to pay experienced staff to leave?
MARS decisions are made on an individual case-by-case basis and require the approval of the Executive Leadership Team and (formerly) the Strategic Health Authority.

4. Will any of those given money to leave be eligible to be re-employed should they so wish?
At present, the recruitment of technicians is anticipated to be from internal sources via the re-launch of the band 4 role career pathway and offers to Student Ambulance Paramedics who have withdrawn from the SAP training programme and are being redeployed to Technician posts. Re-employment is not likely to be the case therefore. Employees who leave the NHS under MARS would not be re-employed under normal circumstances by the NHS in England, in the same or different post, before a period of one month has elapsed. Return within one month would require the repayment of any MARS payment in full. Later re-employment may require repayment of any un-expired element of their compensation.

I am obliged to advise you that if you are dissatisfied with the Trust’s response to your request you have a right to complain to the Trust and should set out your concerns to the Freedom of Information Officer, EEAST, Hospital Approach, Broomfield, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7WS or by email to [East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust request email]. If you remain dissatisfied following this, you have a right under Section 50 of the FOIA to seek a determination from the Information Commissioner on whether the Act has been properly applied by the Trust. For more information, please see www.ico.gov.uk.

The Trust is always looking at ways to improve our responses to Freedom of Information requests. If you wish to provide feedback to the Trust on how we have dealt with your request, please follow this link to complete a short survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PLJZ6C9

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.

Kind regards

FoI Officer
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

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So effectively this Trust spent an average of nearly £16,000 on each member of staff it encouraged to leave and is now offering £500 a time to existing staff if they can recommend replacements?

Yours sincerely,

J Lowe

FOI, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Dear J Lowe

Thank you for your email.

All MARS decisions are made on an individual case-by-case basis approved by the Executive Leadership Team. Figures for each individual will vary dependent on personal circumstances and may be either more or less than any average figure. The Trust can confirm it is offering a Staff Referral Thank You of £500 to any member of staff referring a new Qualified Paramedic, Graduate Paramedic, Specialist Paramedic or Technician who we employ as a result of their recommendation and/or encouragement to join the Trust.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards

FoI Officer
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

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Dear FOI,

Actually I would like to know why your Trust paid out so much money to so few staff to encourage them to leave at a time when you had over 200 vacancies and needed to recruit.

Yours sincerely,

J Lowe